“What I’ve uncovered is that this action is a violation of our – First Amendment”

– Resident Neil Oury

Loveland resident Neal Oury

Loveland, Ohio – Immediately after Mayor Mark Fitzgerald spoke  at the June 27 Council meeting, Vice-Mayor Angie Settle made a motion that adjourned the meeting, leaving residents who had signed up for “Open Forum”, nowhere to go but out the door. (Read: Mayor’s Kumbaya Moment pivots to Bye Y’all as Council meeting abruptly ends)

Settell, who had the votes she needed did not explain why she wanted the meeting adjourned. Discussion on the motion was not allowed. Settell has not responded to an inquiry from Loveland Magazine about the abrupt ending of the meeting.

Neal Oury was one resident who signed up to speak. Below, are the notes Oury carried with him for the speech that he was going to make that night. Settle’s motion prevented him from doing so. Oury gave them to Loveland Magazine before leaving so the community might benefit by what he wanted to say.

This is the second time in recent months that Settell has prevented Oury, who is leading a recall campaign against Mayor Mark Fitzgerald, from speaking freely at a Council meeting. (Read also: Here’s what Vice-Mayor Settle didn’t want you to know)



Neil Oury’s unedited notes:

1st Amendment & Council

Our mayor has imposed a zero tolerance policy for Applause, Outburst, Note Passing & Whispering.  During the May 23 Council Meeting, Mark read an excerpt from the Ohio Open Meetings Act.  I’m going to re-read it.


All meetings of any public body are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times. A court found that members of a public body who whispered and passed documents among themselves constructively closed that portion of their meeting by intentionally preventing the audience from hearing or knowing the business the body discussed.967 However, the Open Meetings Act does not provide (or prohibit) attendees the right to be heard at meetings, and a public body may place limitations on the time, place, and manner of access to its meetings, as long as the restrictions are content neutral and narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest. Further, a disruptive person waives his or her right to attend meetings, and the body may remove that person from the meeting.  Public body = council

Clapping is a means of expressing approval of a person or action

At the last council meeting, for clapping – my wife and several others were asked to leave the council meeting.     I have investigated    the legality of this action

What I’ve uncovered    is that this action is a violation of our – First Amendment

This First Amendment – Freedom of Speech   gives us:

The right to express our opinions without censorship  and   without  restraint

It dictates   that any allowable behavior   remain consistent   

Meaning: Allowing clapping at any time during the meeting,  allows clapping during the entire meeting   

Henceforth, if our mayor continues to   disallow  clapping,   this will be a First Amendment – Freedom of Speech violation and would be subject to litigation.   I don’t & no one else wants to sue the City for this.   And THIS is so  easily  rectified 

Mark, put down your gavel!   STOP violating   our   Freedom of Speech.   Or disallow clapping during the entire meeting (including presentations & awards) which would be  a very   unpopular decision 

Loveland is a community filled with interested residents, very apparent by the number of people attending these council meetings. The council meetings (are public meetings) they belong to ALL of us,  and not just council

So I’m going to suggest a resolution for this:   those who want to clap –  CLAP

If you do CLAP,    Let’s   keep it   to a minimum  – as not to extend the business meeting

Now – the only way to disallow clapping      One would have to follow Roberts Rules.

Roberts Rules – mandates someone would have to raise a “Point of Order” if it appears the assembly is being disruptive 

If a  “Point of Order”  is called,  council would have to stop city business, discuss the incident and resolve the point   before business can resume 

Unfortunately,  “Point of Order” has been ignored at previous council meetings  

Specifically during the April 11, Council Meeting – Mr. Weisgerber called “Point of Order”  3 times when Ms. Gross was allowed to speak from the council desk about an issue that was definitely outside of city business.  This occurred when Ms Gross accused me of stalking her in the parking lot

  1. Why was Mr. Weisgerber’s “Point of Order”  ignored
  2. Why has the mayor allowed clapping during parts of the meeting and not all of the meeting
  3. Why has the mayor stated that anyone speaking from the podium must face the council desk and not engage the audience    Question is:  Why was the podium even moved? 
  4. How is it that the mayor has asked the LPD to remove attendees from Council Chambers when HE does not have   the authority to do so. 
  5. Why did the mayor cut off Mr. Weisgerber    at the end of the last council meeting

Allow me to answer these question with a few statement:

We have a council that is dysfunctional, caused by a self serving mayor   with predetermined agendas, vindictive actions & a majority who align themselves with the mayor and refuses to engage with and listen to the residents

We have a mayor that chooses to follow the rules when it’s suitable for him, and twist them when he needs to suppress 

We have a mayor who has no issue attacking anyone who confronts him

One final point:

I’ve been seriously attending council meetings for the past few of years,

I find it very interesting – that EVERY    Open Forum speaker  Has disapproved of, or disagree with the mayor and the majority 

Not one person has spoken a single word from this podium, approving what the majority has aligned themselves with.

** That speaks volumes **

Oury was prepared to quote from two pages of The Ohio Open Meetings Act (11.A.3 pg 109-110 from the Yellow Book) ref.) and carried copies of the passages with him.


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